Turning Tables: NoMad Hotel resurrected as Ned NoMad, with new restaurants
In 2021, one of New York’s most luxurious institutions, the NoMad Hotel, closed its doors. This followed the departure of celebrity chef and owner of Eleven Madison Park, Daniel Humm, who had overseen the hotel wine spectator Restaurant Award-winning NoMad restaurant before splitting in 2020 from then-owner Sydell Group.
Earlier this summer, the former location of the NoMad, the historic Johnston Building, became the headquarters of the Ned NoMad, a hotel and private club from the owners of the Soho House group of clubs. This is the second location of the Ned concept, born in London in 2017.
While several areas of the hotel will be exclusively for Ned’s members – Ned’s Club Upstairs and the dining room, for example – two restaurants will be open to the public and hotel guests, both overseen by the Executive Chef from Ned NoMad Brian Vandergast, food and drink director Vittorio Viotti and bar chef Chris Moore, former New York mainstay of Dante.
“What excites us most about opening the Ned NoMad was transforming this building with a rich history in every way, into our version of classic hospitality that is very reminiscent of Ned London, but deeply and clearly rooted in New York,” Moore said. wine spectator by email.
The Northern Italian restaurant Cecconi’s will serve guests on the first floor of the hotel. This is Cecconi’s latest location and first in Manhattan, joining sister restaurants in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Istanbul, Miami Beach, Mumbai and West Hollywood, as well as three in London, including a location at The Ned. (Cecconi’s has been a Soho House property since 2004.) Diners can look forward to dishes such as beef tartare with black truffles, chicken paillard with cherry tomatoes, filet mignon, wood-fired pizzas , various pastas and other Italian classics.
Alongside the menu, a growing list of around 77 wines, with a focus on Italy, is overseen by Viotti. This includes Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo, Barbaresco, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and more. Selections from France, California and other regions bring additional diversity, including white Burgundy, Champagne, Sonoma Chardonnay and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. “We’ve tried to create a selection that will appeal to both the person trying to explore wine a little more and learn, as well as the seasoned expert,” Moore explained. A hotel-wide 1,000-label reserve wine list with a large focus on Burgundy will be introduced later this year.
Cecconi’s dining room is inspired by traditional Italian trattorias, with mosaic terrazzo flooring, velvet banquettes and a polished wood bar. On its walls hang several pieces of contemporary art, part of a massive collection displayed throughout the hotel.
The Ned NoMad will also soon open Little Ned, a restaurant exclusively for club members and hotel guests. (Club members will be able to access the restaurant’s mezzanine with views of the Empire State Building). Housed in a 1920s-inspired dining room, Little Ned offers a small menu of traditional bar and club fare, such as burgers, steak tartare, and caviar.
The Ned is ready to continue traveling the world. The Ned Doha will launch in Qatar in late 2022, and another New York location, the Ned Exchange, will open at the American Stock Exchange Building in 2024.-CD
Okta opens in Oregon’s Willamette Valley
A visit to the Pacific Northwest often comes with overcast weather, which may disappoint some, but locals appreciate and cherish the gloomy weather. The same goes for Ōkta, a new restaurant located in the Tributary Hotel in the Willamette Valley town of McMinnville. The boutique hotel, owned by Katie Jackson and Shaun Kajiwara of Jackson Family Wines, opened earlier this summer, and Ōkta debuted July 13.
The restaurant takes its name from a weather measurement of cloud cover, and the intimate dining room, which seats just 26 diners, evokes the natural Oregon vibe, with grays and greens, natural oak and stone. The nine tables encircle a massive basalt boulder, a sign of the Missoula floods, which tossed boulders and cliffs across the Willamette Valley, sculpting the landscape and enriching the soils.
“We take a lot of elements from the Pacific Northwest and try to bring that feeling to the dining room,” said general manager Christine Langelier. Beneath the dining room is a cellar and living room, which feature rich, dark tones with natural leather and terracotta.
In the open kitchen with a large wood-burning fireplace, chef Matthew Lightner, formerly of Atera in New York, crafts ambitious and ever-changing tasting menus from local bounty. The hearth is used throughout the courses, whether for a trail of smoke or a full tank. A recent dish of caviar served with Ozette potatoes and orach (purple spinach) grown at Ōkta’s farm is a prime example of Lightner’s skill in using the hearth and playing with different textures, tastes and smells. Puff pastry brioche and grilled honey accompany the dish, and the orach is slightly wilted from a kiss from the flame of the hearth.
“The chef focuses on the micro-seasons in the valley,” Langelier explained, noting that some products are only at their peak for a few days or weeks. The Ōkta Farm will grow a significant portion of the restaurant’s produce, while other local suppliers, from fishermen to berry farms, will help tell the story of the region and its terroirs by food.
On Wednesdays and Thursdays, the tasting menu is $165 for 8-12 courses, while the weekend special is $260 for 18 courses and more. Wine pairings start at $160. Beverage Director Ron Acierto is enthusiastic about opening diners’ eyes to the diversity and breadth of Oregon wines. The cellar currently holds about 3,500 bottles from 250 wineries, with nearly half of the offerings from Oregon producers. Acierto emphasizes rare collections from Oregon pioneers such as Eyrie and Adelsheim, including less frequently grown varieties such as Gamay and Riesling. Acierto hopes to bring the list to between 4,000 and 5,000 bottles. There will also be a full bar, hearty non-alcoholic offerings, cider and a number of sakes.—AR
Pix Pâtisserie & Living Bar bids farewell to Portland
Those who know Cheryl Wakerhauser, the champagne fanatic, baking prodigy and author behind Portland’s exemplary Pix Patisserie and Living Bar, knew there was an expiration date for the bakery and wine bar. That day is coming, exactly 10 years to the day since the opening. Pix and Bar Vivant will close on August 22.
“The restaurant industry is unpredictable and labor intensive. You think that when you do something for a while it gets easier, but it doesn’t; it just changes with new and different issues,” Wakerhauser said, admitting that when she moved into Pix’s premises in East Burnside in 2012, she had already tried to sell the business once. “I said, ‘If I’m going to put in all this time and work, then I’m only going to do it for 10 years. “”
Wakerhauser has dazzled Portland since 2001, selling its delicious French pastries at the Portland Farmer’s Market before opening its first Pix location in Southeast Portland. When it moved to the current location, it added a tapas and wine bar, dubbed Bar Vivant, which offered a remarkable selection of 1,700 wines, around half of which were champagne, as well as over 150 Sherries. This impressive wine list has earned him a wine spectator Best of Award of Excellence every year since 2013.
Wakerhauser has always sought to make wine more fun and accessible. The restaurant was known for its events and parties, including Flamenco Fridays, Thursday Night Movies at Dusk, July 14 parties, and the Bubbly Spectacular, where sparkling wine was flowed and sabering lessons were offered.
“It’s satisfying to see a full terrace and people having fun, but I’m tired. I opened when I was 25. It’s time to do something else,” Wakerhauser said. A French pastry school may be in the works, though Wakerhauser wants to take some time off to travel first. “I’ve seen a lot of culinary graduates who maybe haven’t learned as much as they should have,” she explained, adding that she would like to offer personalized, one-on-one learning and maybe classes. devoted to Sherry. and Champagne. “I taught a lot of people how to slash,” she laughed.
Those craving Pix creations can specially order larger cakes for pre-arranged pickups and visit the Pix-O-Matic vending machine take-out location, which Wakerhauser has developed during the pandemic. She said her kitchen staff will fulfill orders and store the machines for at least the next year to see how it goes. However, she is quick to point out that she cannot sell wine from a vending machine.—AR